So far my days have been filled with a spectrum of gold and reds, highlights in my professional and personal life. I’ve been more relaxed, content and happy than I’ve been in 12 months.
So why am I constantly suffering from fatigue, headaches, nausea, muscle pain and a general feeling of unwellness?
Discussing my concern with Juanita, she told me about Adrenal Fatigue.
Described as a collection of signs and symptoms that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Basically, your body is unable to cope with stress because your adrenals have been over-stimulated by long term constant stress or a singular highly stressful event.
Putting things into perspective, my last year has been a difficult one. My career thus far was also stressful, often times requiring long hours and personal sacrifices. I’d experienced my fair share of pressure which inadvertently led to stress taking its toll on me.
I realized I needed to make a change in my lifestyle but also didn't want to admit how much stress was affecting me. We’re living in a fast paced society with stress and pressure a natural part of our lives. Why would it affect me in such a negative manner that I need to change my lifestyle?
I eat healthily. Well, I try to. I don’t smoke or drink excessively. Sure I don’t exercise. And yes, my work took up 90% of my waking hours. It’s like that for everyone...isn't it?
I investigated the matter further and discovered that 51% of employees feel less productive due to stress in the work place and that 52% of employees have considered resigning, turning away promotions or making a career change.
Dr. Gaby Prinsloo, who conducts doctoral research on the impact of stress on cognitive ability, distinguishes between acute and chronic stress.
Acute stress, which is short-term, can be associated with enhanced performance. It can even stimulate the immune system; hence the phenomenon of a person falling ill the moment a tough deadline has been met and the stress stimulus has been withdrawn. Repeated acute stress, severe acute stress and chronic stress, by contrast, can impair the immune system and contribute to the development of serious conditions like hypertension, heart arrhythmias, heart attacks and metabolic syndrome.
So does that mean I used to suffer from Adrenal fatigue and now I am having withdrawal symptoms?
Perhaps that doesn’t quite nail it but three things are certain:
I. Continued stress breaks down the body and can lead to long term, serious health problems.
II. Happy employees are more efficient, less stressed, more productive and of higher value.
III. Life is too short to live with unnecessary stress.
I completed Dr Wilson’s adrenal fatigue questionnaire and the results affirm that things are already better for me.
Because my workload is manageable, I don’t need to take work home. In fact, in this office, we are urged not to let work take up our personal time.
I have time to take regular breaks so my eyestrain, muscle pain and stiffness have been reduced.
I can eat lunch every day so my energy levels remain at a level where I am most productive.
But I have to admit - there is one thing I know that I won’t change, regardless of my work environment, hours or responsibilities.
My coffee will keep it's honorary place in my day!